Today we are gifted with a new release from female singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist/Canadian Leslie Feist, or better know as simply, Feist. Unlike most “hosers” from Canada – eh, Feist has a warmly beautiful face, a chillingly passionate voice, and a soul. (No offense to our massive Canadian fan base) She also creepily looks like my friend Ashley:
Today, on October the 4th, Feist’s 4th studio album Metals is released. An album that, although a little more straight forward than her previous efforts, is supremely constructed, and even more supremely performed.
I use the word performed very intentionally because this album comes off like a warm live performance. It is not extremely production heavy, and (maybe disappointingly enough to some fans) is not as poppy as her last two fairly well-known albums. I feel like she wanted her listeners to feel like she was in the room singing to them while listening to this album, and that’s exactly what it did to me.
After her last album The Reminder, Feist could have easily pumped out another “One, Two, Three, Four” or “Feel It All” and received more Grammy noms, iPod commercial offers, and maybe even another invite to perform on the beloved Sesame Street.
^Almost better than Katy Perry’s appearance on Sesame Street
Instead, Feist went a different route. She brought in more orchestration with lots of string arrangements, a slew of backing vocals (including her own), and maybe just a little more depth as well. She was quoted saying that she “just decided to do what she wanted to do.” Maybe she what she wanted to do was compete with the new and incredibly kick-ass St. Vincent album, Strange Mercy (see here).
Let It Die had some incredible tracks and some masterful production and The Reminder had a fun pop vibe that was fun to listen to, incredibly intelligent, and is even more endearing than THIS PUPPY:
^Almost better than Katy Perry’s video for “Firework”
Metals is a bit more grandiose in moments, with some great build ups (“The Bad In Each Other”, Graveyard”) then dipping down into more solemn icy tracks (“Caught A Long Wind”, “Get It Wrong, Get It Right”) and even pull of a mix of both (“Comfort Me”). Lyrically, this album screams brutal honesty. From the opening track in which a man and a women can’t find beauty in each other, to the chilling confession on “Comfort Me” in which she states, “when you comfort me, it doesn’t bring me comfort actually”.
If you visit NPR’s website, there is an article (that is obviously not as good as the one you are currently reading here) on how Feist used to be a punk-rocker and where that has taken her music today. I feel like this is more relevant on this album than ever before. Not that she screams, or plays fast repetitive bar chords throughout the album, but in the attitude and demeanor that is so present in some of her tracks. The opening track “The Bad In Each Other” literally begins with this vibe that makes you want to punch a lion in the face, and although you think that is suddenly balanced out by the softly orchestrated chorus, the lyrics in that chorus are among the darkest of the album. Other moments, like in “A Commotion” there is this tension that stretched through the song like a tightrope, that ultimately never gets resolved and leaves you really wanting more. And when you listen to “Comfort Me”, you can almost see a man weeping at Feist’s feet before she chops his head off on the guillotine, to set herself (blame) free … and then seems to LAUGH about it. In its rawest form, this album IS a punk album disguised in beautiful melodies, warm orchestration, and soft harmonious voices.
^”Comfort Me” Live or: Why Feist is a sexy-ass punk
Feist has proven to be extremely unpredictable. Each album has steered in different directions and seems to be recorded very differently the one before it. But her songs remain as gripping, compelling, and heartfelt as ever.
For those of you who enjoyed her wonderful “poppy” presence in 2007, and were expecting more of the same, I’d encourage you to stick with this album and let it warm up to you. Maybe even jump in with tracks like “How Come You Never Go There” and “Bittersweet Melodies” or the incredible closer, “Get It Wrong, Get It Right” that are most reminiscent of her previous pop tunes. If you haven’t liked her much before, give her another fair shake, she might surprise you with this one.
Can’t Miss: “Comfort Me”, “Get It Wrong, Get It Right”, “Graveyard”
Can’t Hit: “Cicadas and Gulls” (Austin can relate, I’m sure)
NOTE – NPR is actually the shiz, check out that article here